Sunday, June 22, 2014

Ronald Reagan Boyhood Home

Sublette, Illinois High 84 Low 66

We went to see the Boyhood home of Ronald Reagan. It is located in Dixon, Illinois. The family lived there from 1920 to 1923. We were told that they actually rented 3 different homes in the area, but that he considered this one his old home.

The home had gotten very rundown and in early 1984, then president, Ronald Reagan and his wife Nancy, and brother Neil, were scheduled to visit the town. It was decided to renovate the old home to look like it did in 1920. From what they told us it took a lot of work to get it exactly like it was in 1920.

The wallpaper, for instance, was no longer made. They had he and his brother’s input on what wallpaper was in each of the rooms. They found someone that would make it like it was made in 1920.
We found that there were 3 bedrooms in the house, and Ronald 9 at the time, and his brother Neil who was 12, thought they would each get their own bed room. But their mother kept one of the bedrooms for guests and the brothers had to share a bed room.
The boy's room.
Master bed room.

Guest bed room and sewing room.
We were told a story that was taken from his autobiography that told of once getting in trouble with the local sheriff. It seems there was an ordinance passed in the town that outlawed any type of fireworks. He told of when he was throwing firecrackers, a man stopped and told him to get in his car. He then showed him his badge which was a star. On seeing the star he replied “Twinkle Twinkle Little Star, who the heck do you think you are?” This upset the sheriff so much, that he took him to the police station and his father had to come and get him and he was charged a fine of $14.85. To us this doesn't seem like a lot of money, but back then it was almost a month’s rent.

We were told of a place in the Parlor, which the boys weren't allowed to go into. There was a loose tile on the fireplace that he told of hiding pennies from his brother under the tile from which he could reach from the entry hall. He told that one penny bought a piece of candy while 5 pennies bought a movie ticket. At his visit in 1984, he place 4 pennies under the loose tile, which he borrowed from his brother. It seems the President doesn't carry any change in his pockets.The 4 pennies he place are framed above the mantle. There are four others in the hole in the tile.

When the president travels, we were told, his personal chef travels with him with all the necessary dishes and utensils and food for the president and his guests. His fifth grade teacher donated a full set of dishes for the visit and he and his wife and brother used the ones she gave them. They are still there with his name on the dishes he used at the time. The guide had a small crystal salt dip, which he asked if anyone knew what it was. Cindy immediately said a salt dip, which she even uses on occasion. He said most people guessed a candle holder. Cindy then asked him “where are the tiny salt spoons?”  which we also have. She got a blank look because he had never heard of them.

He sat with his back to the china closet, Nancy was opposite, and his brother Neil facing the window. Neil's wife was not well, so she was not present.
President Reagan's name is on the bottom of the dinner plate, also notice the salt dip.
The kitchen has been furnished as it was in 1920. The ice box had a sign that could be place in the window. Whichever number was up was the amount of ice they wanted that day. We were told that in those days the ice man would cut a piece of ice off a large block and would put it in the ice box. Doors were not locked and he would deliver the ice whether any one was home or not. How different from today!

He also showed us a plunger thing which the only person that knew what it was from Germany. It is a hand washing plunger, which was used before there were many washing machines.

Cindy says that when she was in Junior High in California, for extra credit she helped on Reagan’s run for governor.

The bathroom is upstairs by the bed rooms. When the house was built, there was no indoor water or plumbing. Them master bed room has no closet and they think they gave up the closet to add the bath room. The tub is the one that was there in 1920.

There is an old 1919 Model T Ford, that we were told still runs, but is only moved for special occasions. It is in a separate garage.

We thought the old home, which is on the Historic Register, was well worth the visit.

Thanks for visiting.

1 comment:

  1. Interesting, I need to add it to my bucket list. If you haven't stopped at the Presidentail Library in Springfield it is so worth it. We stayed at the fairgrounds.